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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Manufacturing A Bigger Truck

May 26, 2010 7:26 am | Articles | Comments

If you’re in need of a massive truck at your facility, maybe the new Chevy Silverado is your best bet. Production started on Monday, and we get a sneak peek into some of the new manufacturing processes that promise to make this year's version the best yet. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Spider-Like Robots Boogie Down

May 26, 2010 7:21 am | Articles | Comments

If you’re looking to see some hexapod robots boogie, or at least listen to some tedious electronic music, look no further. I’ll be honest — some of these robots have moves I’m pretty jealous of. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

J&J CEO: We're Sorry For Bad Products, Recalls

May 26, 2010 7:19 am | Articles | Comments

Johnson & Johnson has been under fire recently for a spate of poorly-manufactured products, and like other major companies mired recalls, the pharmaceutical giant is working hard to restore its image. Bill Wheldon, J&J's CEO, apologizes for the failure to see its manufacturing practices falter, and for the workers themselves who did not follow GMP.

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Oil Regulators Took Bribes, Did Drugs On The Job

May 26, 2010 7:16 am | Articles | Comments

More evidence comes to light that our federal oil regulators were doing their jobs, and then some: CNN reports that some of these "watchdogs," so to speak, took company gifts and used government computers to watch pornography while they were supposed to be working. One even dabbled in drugs, partaking in crystal meth while on the job.

Energy-Efficient CNC Machining

May 25, 2010 11:23 am | by Jack Lundee | Articles | Comments

With heavy development of prototypes and the never-slowing business-to-business construction/adaptation of plastic, metals, and wood, laser sintering and stereolithography  have become widely energy efficient. These large machines have rapidly become greener by yielding the same, if not better ouput.

Building Faster Retractable Conveyors

May 24, 2010 6:32 am | Articles | Comments

Retractable conveyor systems are used in many industries, but most often in food and pharmaceutical. The determining factor in the performance of these systems is speed.  The sytem comprises transpositors, shuttles, dealers and reciprocators, which can be thought of as: Dealers deal out rows of products.

Battle Bots Educate Youth On Manufacturing, Engineering

May 24, 2010 6:24 am | by Pamela Kan, President, Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation | Articles | Comments

I first learned about the FIRST program while traveling with one of my salesmen. We called on several companies where somewhere within the course of the meeting one of the engineers would reveal their involvement as a mentor in a group called FIRST . I realize now that these mentors during the time of the competition are extremely dedicated and devote many hours to their teams and probably think of little else.

Capital Investment Makes Manufacturing RVs A Plush Ride

May 21, 2010 5:39 am | Articles | Comments

Advanced Machine & Engineering Co., (AME) offers its line of Amlok® cylinder rod locks for a variety of applications in myriad industries. One recent installation is on the worker lift platforms at a major RV manufacturer in the Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana area, home to that industry’s leading producers of motor homes, fifth wheel campers, trailers, and other vehicles.

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When The Little Things Matter A Lot

May 20, 2010 10:58 am | Articles | Comments

Pharma Tech Industries (PTI), a contract manufacturer and packer of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and personal care products, is focused on exceeding customers’ expectations. To consistently achieve their high quality standards, they rely on x-ray and metal detection systems from Mettler-Toledo Safeline and checkweighers from Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed.

New Mexico Shines Brightly For Solar Manufacturers

May 19, 2010 7:37 am | Articles | Comments

While New Mexico is facing a tough economy like anyone else, they have the advantage of more than 300 days of sunshine every year. Gov. Bill Richardson is pushing hard to bring more solar manufacturers into his state, all with the hope of becoming the nation's capitol for the green technology. 2,500 new jobs have already been created, and everyone is hopeful for more.

Turning The Tide

May 19, 2010 7:32 am | Articles | Comments

Unlike the wind or the sun, our ocean's tides are reliable like clockwork. That's why South Korea has decided to build what will become the world's largest tidal power plant, which is projected to power up to half a million homes. The massive turbines certainly look more menacing than the white windmills that have been popping up around the U.

Top 10 Things Overheard At BP

May 19, 2010 7:30 am | Articles | Comments

"Tell everyone it's our free oil giveaway bonanza." If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department. Have any comments or questions about our Thursday video editions of IMPO Insider? Or do you have a video you'd like to see featured in one of our deployments? Email me at Joel.

Building A Duct Tape Bridge

May 19, 2010 7:30 am | Articles | Comments

Duct tape can fix anything, right? It's used by maintenance professionals, in one form or another, on countless jobs. But can it be used to build something, too? Jamie and Adam of Mythbusters fame once again do the impossible—they build a 100-foot bridge entirely out of the sticky stuff. Does it work? Do one of the Mythbusters fall to a sticky death? Watch the video to find out.

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Reduce Your Shrinkage

May 13, 2010 9:53 am | Articles | Comments

Seeing 250,000 pounds of product go to waste each year can bring a tear to any company’s eye. For powdered food processor Allied Blending & Ingredients, Inc., (Keokuk, IA) there was little comfort in knowing that product shrinkage on this order — one percent — is actually the industry norm when handling 25 million pounds of ingredients each year.

Turning Gas Cylinders Into Missiles

May 12, 2010 8:50 am | Articles | Comments

You probably have a number of cylinders laying around your plant, whether they're used for welding or other compressed gasses, but if not cared for delicately, they could become a serious safety hazrard. Flammability aside, a malfunction or breakage of the cylinder's cap could lead to a massive discharge.

Making Robots 'Safe For Work'

May 12, 2010 7:39 am | Articles | Comments

With automation becoming an ever-important aspect of manufacturing, more thought must be put into the safe interaction between humans and their robotic "coworkers." While Asimov's First Law of Robotics states that a robot must not hurt a human, we all know this is not the case in a manufacturing setting.

The Real-Life Tony Stark

May 12, 2010 6:37 am | Articles | Comments

Elon Musk revolutionized the way we pay online with PayPal, and then moved on to Tesla Motors, where he's still trying to change the way Americans drive from point A to point B. As if that wasn't enough, Musk founded SpaceX, which builds space-capable rockets, with the hope of eventually shuttling people and cargo into space.

Volvo Has An Accident

May 12, 2010 6:33 am | Articles | Comments

Volvo brought in a stockpile of journalists and reporters to see the latest model of its S60 sedan, with the City Safety crash-avoidance system, which is meant to use multiple sensors to help a driver stop quickly enough to prevent a rear-ending accident. Volvo drove a semi out onto their test track, and then launched one of their S60s at 30 mph, a perfect speed for demonstrating the effectivenss of their new system.

The ERP Umbrella

May 11, 2010 9:33 am | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

In any modern plant, communication is key. But just what level does your facility really need and, perhaps more importantly, what can you manage? ERP (enterprise resource planning) was once considered a software solution for large manufacturers. Designed to serve as a tool to integrate all business facets into a real-time communication platform—from operations and materials considerations, all the way to accounting and human resources elements—ERP is widely used as a customized solution, requiring manufacturers to build a system from the ground up, rather than cannibalizing current software platforms.

Cable Carrier Addresses Repetitive Motion Issues

May 11, 2010 9:24 am | Articles | Comments

Any application involving moving machinery and constant repetitive motion will benefit from a cable carrier system.  In recent years, plastic cable carriers have emerged as an alternative to metal and steel cable carriers and have replaced these types of systems on most kinds of automated machinery.

Real-Time Wireless Halves Nagging Inspections

May 11, 2010 6:29 am | Articles | Comments

Apprion and the Enterprise Mobility Solutions business of Motorola, Inc. recently announced they have completed work at Huntsman Corporation’s facility in Port Neches, TX on one of the largest and most ambitious industrial wireless application networks to date. Huntsman Corporation undertook an aggressive program to eliminate injuries, product defects, and environmental releases at their Port Neches facility.

Updates To PPE Requirements In NFPA 70E

May 11, 2010 5:59 am | by Byron Jordan, Senior Field Engineer, Ferraz Shawmut | Articles | Comments

Recent updates to the NFPA 70E offer increased safety and protection for workers working on energized electrical conductors or circuit parts. One of the ways the new edition of the NFPA 70E seeks to improve safety is through its expanded requirements for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

When The Utilities Cut You Off

May 7, 2010 8:58 am | Articles | Comments

American Crystal Sugar Company (ACS) is an agricultural cooperative involved in the growing and processing of sugar beets. It operates five sugar factories in the Red River Valley (northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota) and one plant in Montana under the name Sidney Sugars, Inc.

Wireless Sensors In Real-Time

May 6, 2010 12:23 pm | by Aaron LaJoie, Electrochem Solutions | Articles | Comments

The ability to make real-time decisions based on pressure, temperature or flow measurements while a process is running can provide significant advantages in a measurement and control system. These advantages can be expressed in different ways, such as cost savings through improved resource management or reduced reliability upon mobile workers.

The Improvising, Marimba-Playing Robot

May 5, 2010 10:17 am | Articles | Comments

This is probably one of the more unique and interesting robots we've featured in the IMPO Insider . Shimon plays alongside human musicians and knows how to improvise based on what his bandmates are playing. Change up the tune, and Shimon follows right along. Time for a solo? Shimon backs off the keys and waits for his turn in the spotlight.

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